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VisitEngland promotes power of storytelling in new sustainable destinations toolkit

October 9, 2014 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

VisitEngland has launched a new toolkit, called Keep it Real for Destinations, designed to help destinations across the country communicate more effectively with potential visitors.

Developed in partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University, its underlying principle is that if destinations communicate the unique character of what they are doing successfully, they will attract the right visitors.

VisitEngland Keep It RealThe toolkit’s elegantly simple premise is that visitors will come aware of what destinations offer, and as a result these visitors will enjoy themselves more and engage more with local attractions and services. Then when they leave they will serve as free marketing ambassadors for the destination, sharing their happy memories with their friends, who are then more likely to come too. A virtuous circle for tourism is created.
As Anthony Climpson, Chairman of the Wise Growth Action Plan Steering Group, writes in the toolkit’s foreword: “the wonderful outcome of these ‘Economics of Visitor Happiness’ is that not only do ‘happy’ visitors do all your marketing completely free of charge, they also target people like themselves, so creating a self perpetuating replenishment of the right visitors for the right place.”

Rather than simply providing neat but abstract theories and advice, the toolkit is filled with  inspiring success stories from tourism enterprises across England. One of these, the Sense of Place project, was started in Bowland 2005 with a consultation exercise involving over 200 local people including elderly people, parish councils, rangers, and visitors to the Hodder Valley Agricultural Show. These people contributed their thoughts on Bowland, about their favourite places and personal memories. They talked about wildlife, history, farming and even the best ice creams. Other examples in the toolkit include  the National Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4, a campaign to engage children with the outdoors; andYour Broads, Your Future, a social inclusion project that uses the arts and media to engage, inspire and train young people and adults in Norwich and Norfolk so as to increase awareness of environmental issues, renewable energy and human impact on wetland environments.

Finally while the toolkit may be targeted at the UK, its underlying themes and approach are universally applicable, and could be adopted and modified by destinations around the world. They just need to have a good story to tell.
You can download the toolkit for free here: Keep It Real For Destinations.

Aviation industry joins other transport sectors to make bold climate pledges

The Aviation industry, along with other transport sectors, made bold pledges at the UN Climate Summit in September towards cutting their emissions. A coalition of organisations, including the The International Civil Aviation Organisation and the Air Transport Action Group Organisations, committed to reducing net air transport CO2 emissions by 2050 to half of what they were in 2005.

International Civil Aviation Organisation“We will meet these goals through new technology, improved operational efficiency, and better infrastructure,” said International Air Transport Association director general and chief executive Tony Tyler. “But we also need governments to agree a global market-based measure which can tackle aviation emissions. By working as partners across the industry, and with governments, we will deliver a sustainable future for aviation.”

Across other transport sectors, similar dramatic reductions were promised. The International Union of Railways committed to reduce emissions by 75 percent by 2050. More than 110 public transport groups made commitments to double the market share of public transport around the world by 2025. And an Urban Electric Mobility Initiative was launched to increase the number of electric vehicles in cities to at least 30% of all new vehicles sold by 2030. If all these transport pledges were met, it is estimated that it would save one gigaton of carbon by 2050, at a cost saving of US$70 trillion.
The key now is to work rapidly towards meeting these promises, as made clear by the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, who told the delegates at the conference that: “The world’s leading scientists warn that we have less than 10 years to avoid the worst-case scenarios projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

India’s new national criteria for Sustainable Tourism embrace culture as well as environment

Tourism development was recently declared one of the five major priorities of the newly elected government of India, with INR 9bn (around US$147m) made available to develop five new tourism circuits, as well as promoting pilgrimage centres, archeological sites and heritage cities. To ensure this is done sensitively, the country has also just launched wide-ranging sustainable criteria for its tourism industry. Announced by the country’s Minister for Tourism Shri Shripad Naik, the Comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) cover accommodation, tour operators, beaches, backwaters, and lakes & rivers.

The criteria covered include conservation of water, energy, culture, heritage, revival of ancient architecture, involvement of communities, protection of wildlife and the non-exploitation of women, children and vulnerable sections of society.

Commenting on the breadth of the criteria, Naik said: “When we talk about sustainability we should not only talk about conservation of resources, but also our culture and heritage.”

Written and edited by Jeremy Smith

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